tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC October 17, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
this is "world news." tonight, breaking news. a man arrested, allegedly trying to blow up the federal reserve building in manhattan, just a few blocks from ground zero. the comeback. president obama, recharged today, after that epic showdown last night. >> it was the right thing to do. >> so, who is the front runner now? end of the road. nike fires lance armstrong. and the man who founded livestrong will no longer be its leader. and, head over heels. watch this. a world leader has just become the latest casualty of her high heels. with all those stumbles, a lot of sole searching tonight.
good evening. as we come on the air, we have breaking news tonight. the fbi says this 21-year-old man from bangladesh is under arrest, accused of plotting to blow up this building, the one with the red roof. the federal reserve bank here in new york. the man did not know he was being tracked by an fbi sting and abc's dan harris has this developing story at this hour. dan? >> reporter: diane, good evening. police say this morning, the suspect parked a van that he thought was loaded with 1,000 pounds worth of explosives, in front of the building behind me, then walked several blocks away and made a cell phone call that he believed would set it all off. prosecutors say the suspect -- a 21-year-old named quazi mohammad rezwanul ahsan nafis -- moved to america from bangladesh in january of this year, specifically to carry out a terror attack. they say when he got here, nafis started trying to recruit accomplices, claiming he had al
qaeda connections, and justifying the killing of innocents by quoting "our beloved sheikh osama bin laden." what nafis did not know was that one of the people he contacted was an undercover fbi agent, who supplied him with 20 50-pound bags of what nafis believed to be explosives but were, in fact, fake. over the course of months, nafis allegedly bought a detonator, conducted surveillance in lower manhattan and even at one point told the agent he wanted to kill the president. this morning, nafis allegedly packed the explosives in a van, connected a detonator, parked it outside the federal reserve bank, where hundreds of people work. a symbol of capitalism in the middle of lower manhattan's crowded financial district. and then walked over to the nearby millennium hotel, where he taped a video statement, explaining his actions, saying, quote, "we will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom." when he tried to detonate the bomb via his cell phone, he was
arrested. if that had been a real bomb, it could have done massive, massive damage, perhaps killing or injuring many, many people. while investigators say the public was never in danger during the course of this investigation, they argue that if they don't intervene early with people like nafis, they can get their hands on real weapons and do real damage. >> but what they have learned about this man beyond that, dan? any connections overseas? any evidence of it? >> reporter: despite his boasting of having connections, in court today, they said they do not believe he had any such connections and that his status as an international terrorist was, quote unquote, "aspirational." >> all right, dan harris reporting and the news still coming in tonight. thank you. up next, the two-fisted debate between president obama and governor mitt romney last night. we know more than 65 million americans watched, almost as many as the first debate. so, who won? 20 days to go before americans get to the polls, it's your voice, your vote. and abc's jake tapper was out with the president today.
>> reporter: beaming and obviously feeling triumphant, president obama came out this morning in iowa with his fists still flying. >> you've heard of the fair deal? you've heard of the square deal? mitt romney's trying to sell you a sketchy deal. >> reporter: polls suggest the public gives obama the edge of over romney in last night's debate and on the campus of ohio university in athens, obama's supporters were delighted. angie madden liked it when the president asserted himself on libya. >> and the suggestion that anybody in my team would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, governor, is offensive. >> i thought he put romney in his place. i thought he did a fantastic job. >> reporter: student frances liked the president's feistine s feistiness. >> i liked when they got up and they almost looked like they were going to duke it out. >> no, i had a question, and the question was -- >> do you want me to answer a question, i'd be -- >> reporter: of course, it must
be said, one of the reasons supporters feel high right now is because they were feeling low. how did you feel after the first debate? >> not too good. >> reporter: now? energized you? >> i'm ready to go. >> reporter: for its part, the romney campaign was so happy about the governor's message about the obama economy, they put it in a new ad. >> his policies haven't worked, and 23 americans out of work, that's what this election is about. >> reporter: and winning the election is right now quite a bit about women voters, as both candidates made clear last night. >> governor romney says that we should eliminate funding for planned parenthood. there are millions of women all across the country who rely on planned parenthood. >> reporter: democrats think romney provided an opening when talking about staffing up his massachusetts cabinet. >> i went to a number of women's groups, said, can you help us? and they brought us binders full of women. >> reporter: binders of women was the number one searched item today on google, and a punchline for democrats. >> we don't have to collect binders to find qualified, talented women.
>> reporter: re-energizing supporters is one thing and the president seems to have accomplished that. we don't yet know if the president has won over any new converts. and with the race incredibly tight, including here in battleground state ohio, time is running out. diane? >> all right, jake tapper out in the field with the president tonight. and also watching the debate last night was our own jonathan karl, who weighs in now with his personal scorecard. >> reporter: when it comes to the biggest whopper of the debate, mitt romney took the prize when he claimed that he would have done exactly what president obama did to save the auto industry. >> that was precisely what i recommended and ultimately what happened. >> reporter: that's just plain wrong. the president did put the auto companies through chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, as romney suggested, but he also loaned them $80 billion in taxpayer money. romney opposed that. many car industry analysts say without that public money, detroit would have gone under.
but president obama came in a close second when the green president suddenly sounded like a texas oil man. >> we're actually drilling more on public lands than in the previous administration. and my -- the previous president was an oil man. >> reporter: not true. leases and permits for oil drilling on public lands are actually down by about 40% over the last three years. and the biggest shocker of the night? obama and romney broke their own 21-page debate agreement. it called for each of them to stay in their own pre-designated areas. so much for that. instead, they seemed to imitate gladiators, stalking, finger pointing, moving aggressively towards each other. as politico's mike allen put it, the secret service must have been on edge. >> they must have been, jon. so, you were telling me there was somebody else in the room that won, a surprising winner? >> reporter: yes, diane. the clear winner of last night's debate was jeremy epstein. as you recall, jeremy was that 20-year-old college student who asked the very first question
about getting a job after he graduates. well, since then, "get jeremy a job" has been trending on twitter. a sign that his job prospects are up. and after the debate, he talked to both candidates, even got a promise out of mitt romney for a job after he gets out of college. but diane, i don't know if that will happen. jeremy told us he is no longer an undecided voter. if the election were today, he said he would vote for obama. >> oh, but talk about networking. thank you, jon, weighing in his own scorecard tonight. we have more evidence tonight that the u.s. housing market is coming back to life. the number of new homes constructed in september jumped 15% in one month. and that is the fastest rate of new construction since the early days of the recession, in july 2008. something else we've not seen in four years, the fastest rate of applications for building permits, up 12%, a promise of new construction around the bend. and a startling headline today about an article of faith in the health of american
families. the annual physical at the doctor's office. a new study by british researchers raises the question, do they really make us healthier and do they save lives? abc's chief medical editor dr. richard besser has been pouring over the results. >> reporter: we've thought of it as the right way to do medicine. urge everyone to get an annual checkup, even if they felt fine. but the study out today, looking at more than 150,000 people at different times in different countries may take you out of that waiting room. comparing average people who got an annual checkup with people who didn't, there was no difference in the risk of death from heart disease or cancer. no difference in the risk of death from any disease. annual physicals also mean annual testing, blood tests for one. $187 million changes hands each year for blood tests during physical exams that you don't need. the problem is, patients want to get poked and prodded.
90% expect a physical exam. everything from reflexes to heartbeat. doctors, too. 94% said an annual physical was crucial. so, what's good medicine? is all that time in a paper dress just a waste? >> so, what about it, dr. richard besser? is it a waste? what do you think? >> reporter: i don't think it's a waste. you know, if you had a normal physical exam this year and you're feeling well, take a break. every two years, check your blood pressure, your cholesterol, your weight. every year, get a flu shot and if something doesn't feel right, get checked out right away. >> but every two years, you're saying? should be sufficient if you are feeling good? >> reporter: that's right. the key thing, it's to develop a relationship with a doctor you can talk to. the problem is, so many annual visits are about testing and not talking. your next visit, spend it talking to your doctor about those things that really matter to your health. stress and sleep and smoking and your weight and exercise and if you do those things during your next visit, it really could impact on your health. >> but i can't believe you're
not going to hear from a lot of doctors who say that annual visit is what makes the difference. >> reporter: i want to hear from them. >> all right, i'm sending them straight to you. dr. richard besser on this new study. thank you. and coming up next, the abc news investigation into some of the people hired to protect american civilians overseas. one company given contracts worth millions and millions of dollars, but what are some of these private security forces doing? a whistle blower came to abc's chief investigative correspondent brian ross with a video. >> reporter: on the dangerous streets of kabul, afghanistan, these are some of the men being paid by american taxpayers. >> there you go, all right. >> reporter: to protect u.s. civilians from terrorists 24/7 as they work for the american government. this is the staggeringly drunk security manager for an american
company called jorge scientific, with a $47 million contract from the pentagon to train afghan police that requires zero tolerance for alcohol or drug use. >> they are endangering themselves. they are endangering the people they are there to protect. >> kevin, come on. >> reporter: this was the company's medical officer, wiped out, stoned. >> please snap out of it. >> reporter: after shooting up with a prescription anesthetic, ketamine. >> it was like a frat house for adults. >> reporter: the revealing video footage was provided to abc news by two former company employees, john melson and kenny smith. could they have been possibly ready for an attack? >> no, sir. >> reporter: jorge scientific operated out of what was supposed to be a high security covert location. yet on some nights, the former employees say, the company's top executive built outdoor bonfires and drunkenly threw live ammunition rounds into the flames for fun. and was this an every night thing like this? >> no, sir, it wasn't every night.
it was every other night. >> reporter: but they say there was no oversight from the military. >> all indications from what i've been able to read and see so far would indicate somebody missed something. >> boom! nothing! >> reporter: the former employees say the only way they knew to stop the craziness was to stop the flow of alcohol. in the end, they both quit in disgust. the company, jorge scientific, called what was seen on the video "unacceptable behavior." and said the employees had either been fired or put on leave. but that's not the end of it. u.s. military officials tell us tonight there's now a criminal investigation opened into what we broadcasted. diane? >> all right, thank you, brian. and you can see more of brian's investigation tonight on "nightline." coming up here, this devastating day for lance armstrong and those yellow livestrong bracelets he helped put on the wrists of everyone from oprah to presidents. [ male announcer ] centrum has been a leader in multivitamins
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get coricidin hbp. the number one pharmacist recommended cold brand designed for people with high blood pressure. and the only one i use to relieve my cold symptoms without raising my blood pressure. coricidin hbp. this was a day we could not have imagined, back when lance armstrong was the athletic wonder, biking up all those mountains. his battle against cancer. the livestrong bracelet. but now, after the mountain of evidence of doping, he is losing sponsors, the leadership of his foundation and his legacy. and here's abc's neal karlinsky. >> reporter: not so long ago, lance armstrong and his partners at nike were making fun of those
who accused him of doping. >> everybody wants to know what i'm on. what am i on? i'm on my bike. >> reporter: today, nike is eating its words, finding armstrong guilty, as well, due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that lance armstrong participated in doping and misled nike for more than a decade. this, from the very company that paid him an estimated $40 million. >> nike deciding to sever their contract with lance armstrong is the final death knell in terms of lance armstrong as an endorser. >> reporter: armstrong, seen on home video at the '99 tour as a fresh faced budding hero, is now seeing his legend virtually erased. those iconic yellow wristbands, once worn proudly by people around the world, replaced by mocking cartoons. an armstrong quote has been
removed from the olympic training center in colorado. sponsors anheuser-busch, frs sports drinks, trek bicycles and giro helmets all dropped today like dom knows. faring the impact on livestrong, his multimillion dollar cancer foundation, armstrong announced he'll step down as chairman. >> when asked by the team, how are you doing? he basically said, i've been better and i've been worse. >> reporter: armstrong himself remains silent and defiant. still sticking perhaps by one of his most famous quotes -- "pain is temporary. quitting lasts forever." >> reporter: neal karlinsky, abc news, seattle. and coming up next here, our instant index. the people, places, quotes that caught our eye. and next, the eagle-eyed passengers on a jumbo jet that spotted this through the plane windows. look. it was an unbelievable rescue. this plthrough the plane windows. it was an unbelievable rescue.
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the sailor on board was saved and the mission, accomplished. a number in the news today. 3 billion. the number of google searches processed every day. today, we got an unprecedented look at the secret nerve center of google. more willy wonka than nerds. brightly colors pipes are a kind of central air unit for the server. so, if you google search who won the debate, it will light up that room. and a baby picture in the news. moses, the orphaned elephant, 7 1/2 months old now with canine siblings there. and human parents in a new home after a life of loneliness wandering in malawi. and we think there's a similarity. moses, meet the real life dumbo. and we do want to hear from you. tell us which pictures, people and quotes capture your imagination every day. tell us online at abcnews.com or tweet them to us, #instantindex. and coming up here, the high price of high heels.
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world stage. a hostile encounter by a head of state with her own high-heeled shoes. so, abc's sharyn alfonsi asked around. are they worth it? >> reporter: she's the first female prime minister of australia. accomplished, well-spoken, but not above the one thing all women know. stilettos and soggy grass don't mix. and it's the third footwear fiasco for the prime minister. she's certainly not the first woman to fall head over heels. see "sex and the city." remember carrie bradshaw's catwalk tumble? >> oh, my god. she's fashion roadkill. >> reporter: runways are littered with roadkill. wobbles, tumbles and wipeouts. at heathrow airport, lady gaga showed she wasn't the practical, rolling luggage type, and ended up rolling her ankles. but for the rest of us, why do we bother when we know it can end like this?
the man behind those skyscraping red soles, christian louboutin, explained it to me like this. >> some women are not completely comfortable with their body. and even if you're not really comfortable with your body, you are comfortable with your feet. >> reporter: at the time, i was six months pregnant, so he proved it to me. hello, lovers! i think i just lost five pounds and ten years. fabulous. when you're talking seven-inch heels, practicality really isn't the point. >> i don't want these shoes to be comfortable shoes. >> reporter: they're not going to be birkenstocks. >> exactly. >> reporter: but with those higher heels come higher risks. and a lesson. looking good is the easy part. it's what you do after the fall that really counts. sharyn alfonsi, abc news, new york. >> and thank you for watching. we are always here at abcnews.com. and don't forget, "nightline" will be along later. and of course, we're going to see you right back here again tomorrow night. until then, have a great night.
details head. >> a giants fan whose business was destroyed by fire the team steps up to the plate to replace a precious momento. >> you're looking at a live picture tonight. high temperatures and wind conditions have triggered a fall fire warning. good evening, everyone. >> let's get straight to spencer christian. the fire warning going into affect now. is that correct? >> it is from 6:00 this evening until 8:00 tomorrow morning. you can see there is no coastal fog. it's warm to shot hoth inland. 82 degrees here in san francisco. 7 owe in half moon bay. 84 in santa cruz. there is 91 at clover dale. with temperatures rising and dry conditions and gusty winds developing in